SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has criticised the DUP and Sinn Féin for attempting to hide their failures in government behind a sham fight over the roles of First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
He was speaking after contributing to a debate today in Westminster on the Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“The truth is that the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister has always been a joint office. The Deputy First Minister can’t sign a letter without the First Minister’s approval.
“It’s long past time to stop the constant bickering over who is First Minister and who is Deputy First Minister and instead focus on the real challenges facing the people of the North. This constant sham debate over what to call each other serves only to further the partisan interests of these two parties and distracts the public from their failure to deal with the real issues, from the state of our collapsing healthcare system to our crumbling schools to the more than 100,000 children and young people who are living in poverty in our communities.
“It is clear that the legacy of the DUP and Sinn Féin after 15 years in government together is failure, failure and more failure. They want to perpetuate this false pretence that the First Minister is more important than the Deputy First Minister so they can get away in the smoke for not actually delivering for people.”